Should a Handyman install my new toilet?

  • Posted on: February 24, 2014
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Service time: 60-90 minutes

toilet_gardenWhether it’s aesthetics, accessibility or water conservation, you probably have a good reason for wanting a new toilet. To determine if you require a plumber, let’s look a little further.

  • Aesthetics – that’s easy, it’s a horrible color.
  • Accessibility – as we get older, a toilet with a higher seat is easier to use.
  • Conservation – low flow toilets can save a household of three up to 180 liters of water per day or up to $85 per year.

OR  – maybe it’s just not working.

As a Handyman, I’ll tell you why I offer the service. My parents once had a problem with the toilet in their powder room. Turns out the house cleaners broke off a toilet brush in the toilet and instead of retrieving it, they tried to flush it down. For the pleasure of discovering that, they paid a plumber almost $600! No new toilet, all he did was take it outside and pull out the brush! Needless to say I was agitated to find that out, especially since I could have fixed it myself at a cost of nothing to them.

Occasionally a toilet will stop working properly, with no visible reason why. I found that out after removing my own, snaking the drain and toilet, and reinstalling it to find it still didn’t work. I bought a new one and bingo – problem solved.

In my estimate for toilet replacement, I like to tell my customers about some of the factors that can occur during the job. I’ve reproduced it here for your consideration. The details are important whether you are replacing the toilet completely, or, there’s a leak somewhere that’s causing damage in the home, and you think the toilet may be the culprit.

1. An old toilet SOV, (Shut Off Valve) sometimes fails after it has been operated, and may either NOT shut off the water supply completely while the work is being done OR drip continuously after toilet has been re-installed. In either case, it may have to be replaced.

2. A toilet that has been “caulked” to the floor surface indicates a possible problem with an uneven floor, or a “rocking” toilet. The caulk has been used to hide a large gap/crack or stop the rocking. Water that has been trapped underneath the toilet and retained by the caulk, will often rot the subfloor, and leave little or no solid surface for toilet flange anchoring. If the flange cannot be anchored to the subfloor, then both the toilet and the flange will move freely after connection, which is a possible reason for the caulk as well. If this problem is discovered, Client will have to retain a contractor to replace the subfloor before toilet can be re-installed. Please see “Hidden or Latent Defects” in the Terms and Conditions.

3. Serviceman cannot guarantee that toilet removal process will not cause new damage to either the floor or the toilet.

4. A Licensed Plumber will have to be retained if toilet flange is broken or disconnected from waste plumbing.

So, knowing all that, is it the right time to replace the toilet? Well, if you have no visible signs of leaking from the toilet, either on the ceiling underneath, or directly on the bathroom floor around the toilet, then it’s a safe bet your subfloor is still probably sound enough still to anchor the toilet flange, and a new toilet. However, if you suspect the toilet is loose or there has been some water damage, then you are best to have the toilet replaced as part of a renovation or remodel of the bathroom.

Should you choose a one or two-piece toilet ? Well that’s really up to you and your design sense, but I can tell you that with their quieter operation, I have never found a one-piece to be all that powerful. Perhaps there are newer units that perform better.

Also before you buy, remember that a toilet flange is typically spaced 12” from the finished wall to its center. Some newer toilet profiles are larger, and may not fit into that space if you haven’t had a renovation with new flange installation. My plumber says that you are safer these days if you have a 13” space. Be sure to ask the salesman before you buy if the toilet will fit the standard flange spacing from wall. I’ve definitely experienced the plumber’s “mood” when after a renovation; we didn’t leave him enough room to install the larger profile toilet. Unfortunately, the customer wasn’t aware of the requirement when they purchased their toilet.

As for disposal in Toronto and the GTA, toilets are collected with your regular garbage pick-up, as long as the tank is separated from the bowl. Probably best to have the work done a day or two before your regular pick-up, so the Handyman can carry it out for you.

Please note: Fixitgary.com does not troubleshoot or repair toilets – I remove old toilets, and install new only. Repair or removal and re-installation for new flooring is not offered.

Fixitgary.com offers quality home repairs and workmanship in Markham, North York, Thornhill, Richmond Hill, Aurora, Newmarket, Stouffville, Uxbridge, Pickering, Ajax, Whitby.